A special evening of food, music and hospitality took place last week to celebrate the most important day in the Ukrainian calendar.

The ‘Celebration of Independence’, organised by the Manx Support for Ukraine group and hosted by Douglas Golf Club, marked Ukrainian Independence Day.

Among the evening’s surprises was a personal message of thanks to the Manx people, on behalf of the people of Ukraine, from Yehor Cherniev, deputy chairman of the committee on national security for the Ukrainian government.

Special guest Matt Lambah, a former British soldier who spent three months serving as a volunteer in Ukraine last year, spoke about his experiences.

Guests enjoyed a three-course Ukrainian dinner prepared by the chef at the pavilion with help from Ukrainian volunteers, live music by Jon Lightfield and a fundraising auction.

Manx Support for Ukraine has raised more than £35,000 to date and has sent more than 30 vehicles to Ukraine filled with aid and care packages. Another five vehicles are scheduled to leave the island in the next fortnight, driven by Ukrainian and Manx volunteers.

Anastasiya Pankovska, one of the organisers of the Celebration of Independence, paid tribute to the volunteer effort behind the scenes.

She told the Manx Independent: ‘Making an event like this was very challenging but we had so much help and we want to thank everyone involved.’

She also thanked the host of local companies which have provided assistance and support to the group.